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Formalism

Contracts

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

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The Common Sense Of Contract Formation, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan, David A. Hoffman Jan 2015

The Common Sense Of Contract Formation, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan, David A. Hoffman

All Faculty Scholarship

What parties know and think they know about contract law affects their obligations under the law and their intuitive obligations toward one another. Drawing on a series of new experimental questionnaire studies, this Article makes two contributions.First, it lays out what information and beliefs ordinary individuals have about how to form contracts with one another. We find that the colloquial understanding of contract law is almost entirely focused on formalization rather than actual assent, though the modern doctrine of contract formation takes the opposite stance. The second Part of the Article tries to get at whether this misunderstanding matters. Is …